pre-sprouting melon seeds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by .netDude, May 26, 2006.

  1. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    When sprouting melon seeds in a papertowel, inside a plastic bag, how long should they stay in there after they start to sprout? After removing them, should I just put them in flats or seed starting trays, with seed starting soil, or do I need to use peat pots? Should I just drop them in, or does the sprout have to point up or down?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

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    You should plant them as soon as you see the root emerge from the shell. If you let them get too long there is a likelihood that you could break the root when you attempt to plant them and then they are "toast". I would recommend that you plant them in paper pots or peat pots so that you can eventually plant the whole thing as a unit and not take the chance of damaging the roots when taking the plant out of a flat or tray. In fact, if the weather is ok, you could plant them directly into the garden as soon as they sprout, no hardening off required. The plant has a built in gyroscope so it senses gravity and the root will grow down and the plant will grow up no mater how the seedling is planted but it is easier for the plant to break through the soil if the seed is planted on its edge.
     

  3. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I only spout seeds until just barely showing a spout; too easy to damage planting otherwise. On fat seeds like squash/pumpkin I mainly like to get them swollen up with water ready to burst into spouts...then I plant in recycled styrofoam cups and they take off. The spouts know up and down...magic. Lots of folks are lucky and haven't got our rocky soil which grows stuff fine but doesn't cooperate with small seedlings.,,I often use potting soil in the row for tiny seeds like carrotts or beets to give them a better chance at germinating. DEE
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I never tried pre srpouting melon seeds. The way I did it was to plant the seed in a large peat pot (at least 5 inches). It will spout as fast and the fragile roots will take better to the soil undistrurbed. Once the plant had second leaves stage and not much bigger across hanging over the edge of the pot, I would plant the pot in the garden. It's worked handsomely doing it that way for me anyway.
     
  5. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses. Last year I didn't sprout them, and 2 of 12 came up, and those two took forever. So I thought I'd give it a try this year. I'm zone 4, so it's probably too early to plant them outside, right?
     
  6. gypsymama

    gypsymama Well-Known Member

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    Melons like warm weather! They do well if your put some black plastic down before planting, poke a hole, put the plants in. This keeps the ground warm, retains water and keeps weeds at bay. If you have a lot of clay in your soil, amend it, they don't like a real heavy soil.

    Plant them after they have a real leaf developing. As mentioned above, peat pots are good because you can put the whole thing, plant and all in the ground together.

    Zone 4....you're too early. Don't put them in the ground yet. Optimal temp range for muskmelon: 65 - 75 (but they have a range of 60 - 90)
    Optimal temp range for watermelon: 70 - 85 (but they can tolerate 65 - 95)
     
  7. dunroven

    dunroven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Is it too early start sprouting pumpkins and melons here in zone 5 (I believe that's us), Iowa anyway. I'm not the real planter in the family, hubby is, but I am trying to learn so I can help him with it.

    Thanks!
     
  8. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Dunroven - when to sprout depends on your average last frost date, not your zone (the zone just tells you what will be able to overwinter and what you must treat as annuals).

    Winter Squash: Sow indoors 3-4 weeks before last frost and transplant after danger of frost is well passed. OR sow outdoors when soil temps are 70F. Squash hate to have their roots disturbed so plant in peat or newspaper (something you can set directly into the garden w/o having to remove the seedling from its container).

    Melons: start indoors 3 weeks before last frost and germinate at 80-90F. Lower temps to 70 after they sprout. Transplant when soil temps are at least 70F. OR direct sow outdoors when soil is 70F and after last frost. Roots hate to be disturbed so use peat or newspaper containers.
     
  9. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    One yr in CO some of my squash and melons didn't make it to transplant time thanks to my kitty. I went ahead and transplanted the varieties I had and direct seeded to replace the varieties I lost and guess what? The direct seeded produced at the same time as the well grown transplants! I never bothered starting squash and melons inside again.
     
  10. mberryrfd

    mberryrfd Well-Known Member

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    we sprooted some melons in the house in peat but it is still getting a bit cold at night
    almost time to move them outside and try to keep the rabbits outta the garden